Published: Thu, June 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

We’ll see brighter India: PM Modi in Tirupati

We’ll see brighter India: PM Modi in Tirupati

The Prime Minister's Office described his visit as "important, signifying the strong bonds of friendship with a valued neighbor".

Several agreements were signed between the two countries covering health, cargo and passenger transportation by sea, customs services and other sectors.

His choice of the Maldives and Sri Lanka for his first overseas trip since being reelected this spring "underlines the continued emphasis that the government lays on the "neighborhood first" policy", Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said ahead of Modi's trip. Over a thousand Maldivian civil servants will be trained as per the MoU and the Indian Government will bear the expenses. India is committed to helping the Maldives in every way possible, he added. This will provide the Maldives easy access to Indian markets.

These include exchange and training of medical professionals and medical research, regulation of medical products and co-operation in cancer treatment. In June and August 2017, for example, during a military standoff between India and China, the latter sent 14 warships and at least seven submarines to those waters.

After being welcomed by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Modi visited the St. Anthony's Church in capital Colombo where he paid his respect to the victims of the blasts. Like in the early days of Chandrababu Naidu after 2014 elections, the Prime Minister offered complete co-operation to the new government in Andhra Pradesh in facing the Bifurcation Challenges. During the meeting, Cabinet Secretary, PK Sinha, said the Sectoral Groups of Secretaries will prepare a five-year plan document for each Ministry, with well-defined targets and milestones. "We will fully extend all co-operation from the Centre for the development of the state", the Prime Minister assured.

Modi made a veiled reference to China's OBOR, while addressing the Maldivian Parliament during his visit. Modi was also conferred the "Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen", which is the Maldives' highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries.

Both sides agreed terrorism was a joint threat that needed collective and focussed action.

Modi's visit is an affirmation sign of India's solidarity with Sri Lanka in the wake of the deadly terror attacks.

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